Professor of Geodesy, proud Greek, passionate photographer and avid Apple and Foap user since the beginning. This week, we spoke with John, or @i-johnny, on art, the light of Greece versus the “grey curtain” of Northern Europe and on what he would change on Foap. Here is our chat.
John, first things first, tell us a little bit of who you are: Where are you from? Where do you live? What do you do aside from Foap?
I am Greek and, from the day I was born, I live in the city of Thessaloniki (Northern Greece). Aside from Foap – I am an engineer of Geoinformatics and an Academic. I am a University Professor of Geodesy and Geomatics. I teach, research and complete a range of administrative work. I live in a somehow parallel universe, directly or indirectly related to a huge number of scientific, or even artistic, fields. Photography plays an important role among them. We use it as a tool, among many different others, to measure and document “objects” of a wide range of magnitude (for example: statues, paintings, monuments, archaeological sites, industrial objects, cities, technical works, etc.). We are talking about one of the many subsets of the “Geodesy/Geomatics” discipline, known as “Photogrammetry” (airborne or terrestrial). During my off time, when I happen to have some, I have many hobbies: photography, music, Web-programming and other computer-related activities, cinema, playing guitar, reading, social media, swimming, socialising and events, to name but a few.
Your Foap portfolio is a lot about Greece, but also a lot of photos from your travels. Which do you prefer? What’s the difference between photographing seemingly endlessly sunny Greece and grey, northern Europe, which also appears in your portfolio quite a bit.
Living in Greece means that, obviously, many of my pics are Greece-related, at least the ones I shot in the early days of my photo saga! But I am trying hard to keep a balance between my Greek art and my foreign art, at least as far as my uploads to Foap are concerned. The first and perhaps the only serious problem with maintaining this balance is, hands down, the Greek light. I do prefer to call it “light” than just “sun” or “sunlight”, since it is far more than just the physical sunlight! I see it that way, but I think a lot of photography-oriented visitors to Greece would agree with me on this. It is really tempting to have that light available around you for almost 300 days a year. It systematically, even sadistically, pushes you or, we could even say, seduces you, to leave your work and to search for that bag with your photo gear!! Consequently, my photos taken in Greece are much more numerous.
No need to say that I also have many photos from other European countries! I travel frequently because of my work, mainly for conferences, academic meetings, workshops and so on. North European countries offer me another kind of equally tasteful challenges! Yes, I agree with your comment on the greyness of Europe north of Greece. North European “grey” sets a good number of limitations. But for a curious person like myself, I find it predominantly attractive or maybe compelling. After all, behind that “grey” threshold, there are usually fantastic old buildings, excellent urban areas, lovely streets, superb “hidden” colors, alleys, gardens, and magical environments. Well, many things there have a completely different smell and taste for a person from the Mediterranean. The light is completely different – you have to be resourceful in order to adapt successfully. You have to “change eyes” – to use other tricks, since you have a mission to bring all that marvelous stuff out of the “grey curtain”. This diversity – unprecedented for me – just excites me deeply. I mean it! To conclude, although the balance is difficult to keep, I feel satisfied with its results so far! I love both the local and foreign dimensions of my photography.
My satisfaction is maintained and enhanced by numerous other Foapers, followers or not. I truly enjoy the lovely comments left under both my Greek and European photo-self. I’d like to take this opportunity, to sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, thank all those Foapers who have taken the time to view my photos. I do appreciate it very much!
Why did you get so involved in Foap? What brought you here?
I found Foap during my usual everyday Web-browsing. If I remember well, right around the time it first appeared. Since I use Apple products from the day Apple appeared on the planet, I immediately downloaded Foap, gave it a test and here I am. There are four reasons that would explain my involvement: 1) I do adore photography (by the way, I adore all visual arts, any kind of art, and any kind of serious gadgets related to art, as well.), both as a shooter and as a viewer; 2) I like to share my photos and my knowledge of photography and related interests very much, with like-minded people; 3) I use Henri Cartier-Bresson’s rule that, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”; 4) and finally, I am a (very …yes, I admit it !) competitive person.
What do you photograph with? Do you use any apps to edit your phots?
I’ve started photographing a lot during the 70’s, with a ‘Praktika’ manual SLR camera (!), which was bought in Eastern Germany and manufactured by Pentacon, in Dresden. Later on, when the famous Canon AE-1 appeared on the stage, I started using Canon cameras. I use Canon cameras until today, following this evolution-path: AE-1, A-1, F-1, G12, 50D. Many times, I also use my good, old iPhone 4, especially when I cannot carry my DSLR. The main editing software I use is Photoshop, on Mac computers. I feel very comfortable with this one, after all I am an ancient user. 😉
What’s one thing you would improve about the current Foap app?
Oh, there are many things, believe me! 😛
The first thing that I ALWAYS think of is the rating system!!!! It leaves a lot of space for “haters” and generally, for unkind and bad people, who we kindly call “downraters”. Foap needs a better, flexible and most of all, a more “polite”, rating system.
I also have another suggestion: I believe the limit of 40 ratings in the Notification field is a drawback. It is impossible for a user to see who rated him/her and, most importantly, who added comments after the first 40 notifications. Before this limitation, I saw all users who left a good or kind comment and replied with a simple “Thank you”! Most of the time, this simple communication was the beginning of a “connection” between Foapers! With the limit, this is just impossible. I think you have to re-consider this bottleneck.
Thanks John for your time and for your answers! And for being such an ardent Foaper! On a side note, we’re happy to announce the Foap Development team heard you loud and clear! In the new app, to be released shortly, this limitation has been removed. The rating system is something we’re also considering as we are aware of this problem!
Thanks again John! Happy Friday Foap!